The love of grandparents
May 23, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

I attended the Grandparents’ Day program at my children’s school. I was the acting grandparent as my children’s grandparents have all passed away. I have done this each year for many years and thoroughly enjoy it. It is wonderful to sit amongst all of the grandparents who hold such esteem for their grandchildren. No one can top their grandchildren, and that is how it should be.

When at a grandchild’s event, be it a dance recital, ball game, or concert, it is their grandchild that is the star in their eyes. Grandparents hold no impartiality and great bias for their grandchildren. That is why a grandparent or a grandparent’s role in a child’s life is so important. We all need a little bias at times.

When my mother lived with us, she served as the tear wiper, consoler, and counselor for my children. When they were scolded, they would go to grandma. This never bothered me. It is our job as parents to teach our children right and wrong.

They will make mistakes and sometimes those consequences involve discipline, such as the removal of a certain privilege. Grandma would put the “Band-Aid” on the “owie” that would help make it better. Grandma’s cookies also helped heal all kinds of wounds.

At the program, the principal addressed the grandparents with words of appreciation for the role grandparents play in children’s lives. They no longer have to worry about the day-to-day things that it takes to take care of children, but rather, as a grandparent, they can now just enjoy their grandchildren.

As I was sitting among all of the wonderful mentors for our children, I thought of all the wisdom that filled the gym bleachers – all the stories, all the lessons, all the knowledge and life wisdom that our grandparents hold. This wisdom needs to be shared with our youth, with the grandchildren.

Because my mother lived with us for about 10 years, our family had the rare opportunity to listen and learn from her stories and personal history. With a recording book in hand, we would regularly sit down with grandma to hear and document her memories of her life.

Now that she is gone, we have this piece of her documented history to read, and also to share with our next family generation. My children can share what they know about grandma with their own children. They can continue to pass grandma’s history down.

I love to visit with our older and wiser authority figures – the grandmas and grandpas. It makes me feel at home. To learn about their stories is of such great interest to me. We have so much to gain from spending time with them.

Each month, my students and I go to a local senior care living center to spend time with the residents there. We play cards, read, make crafts, laugh, and learn from each other. In our most recent visit, we each brought along something that we wanted to share.

The students brought pictures of their families, ribbons they had won, and poems they had written. The senior residents also shared something cherished, as well. We learned about their loved ones; about how they came to America, without knowing anyone, to have a better life; we learned about their hobbies; and we witnessed great artistic talents.

It was one of the best learning experiences for my students and myself, and, I believe, for the residents. We formed connections, and learned that each person is a person with a story to share.

Let us continue to teach our children how important it is to respect this generation, and to listen and learn from their elders. These relationships connect our children to the past, to the present, and to the future. The connections that we make with our elders can provide us with the feeling of “home,” love, security, and acceptance that we need to really be happy in life.

We call the senior years the golden years, not necessarily because they may be golden for the seniors, but because what they have to share with the world is gold.